Don't Send a Resume

A review by Andrew Forward, of Jeffrey Fox's book on how to get a job

Avoid the same old process, read a few books, write a killer resume and cover letter, print it on nice stationnary and start submitting your profile to everyone you know, and don't know.

A resume / cover letter is junk mail, similar to cold calls without an appointement. The company you sending your stuff too may have no need for your services or perhaps you are not contacting the hiring person.

You are the product, you are selling yourself. Never send literature before meeting your prospective customer (the person hiring you). All literature (resume, cover letter, ...) must be customized for each customer. Never send a resume without proper setup.

Resume's are flawed because we write them, and we make ourselves sounds awesome, to the point where people know they will be biased. All resume's look and feel the same. You need to get yourself noticed, stand apart, be different.

Resume's are too long. A resume has two purposes,

  1. Intriguing enough to get an interview
  2. Re-affirm (tailored resume's achieve this) how hiring you solves a problem

Don't forget that resume's compete with memos, reports, todos, lunch and other resumes.

Here is your job getting blueprint

Skip the personnel department

The HR department is not involved in making the hiring decisions - managers do. HR looks at job descriptions, managers look at job fit and focus more on talent. Now, HR is important, they interview, interpret test results, handle post-hire administration. HR's opinions are valuate but not final. HR is much better to help you once you are hired (but not necessarily during the hiring process).

Start with the CEO, study the company, send the proper hiring person an impact letter, get an interview.

A job seekers marketing mix includes advertising, publicity, packaging, pricing, market research and direct mail.

Word-of-mouth: Ask influential people to spread the word that you are looking
Database: Use your people file to send letters, press magazine clips, emails and phone calls
Direct marketing: Letter to target hirerer with tailored message
Lead generation: Identify hiring companies, get introduce or referral, consider networking, want ads, industry publications and market research
Media plan: Internet helps to contact and respond to companies, build a personalized web site
Pricing: Dollarize your impact
Publicity: Write articles, contact organizers for organizations, give speeches
Segmentation: Demark by geography, industry, company size
Selling: Yourself, you are the product
Trade Shows: Visit target companies at trade shows

A resume acts as sales literature, the interviewer is the buyer, you are the salesperson and your employment is the product. The interview is the sales call and like all products, you are competiting to get noticed. So, think about:

Dollarize. Calculate your worth to the customer.

Can you increase sales, reduce waste. You value to the company is to what extent you can increase revenue and / or decrease costs, as well as innovate new products / ideas. The cost of a job includes recruiting the candidate, compensation, benefits, training, office space, tools, samples, mistakes and supervision.

When looking for work, start with a 40 mile radius. Target your ideal companies first. Pick upto 6 target companies and

Now you can write an important letter to the CEO outlining 5 ways to improve the company. Research to answer "How can I improve this company". Answers usually involve growing sales, increasing profits, reducing costs, speeding up innovation. You want to discover ideas, suggestions and find observations that lead to economic gain.

To help you with your research consider:

  1. Call the company and request sales literature, annual report, technical information, product brochure, price list. You can say that you are a potential customer, investor, or a consultant for an interested client (all of which is fairly true).
  2. Visit retail store, buy and use product, talk to store personnel, get names of salespeople who sell to the store, get store's opinion and ideas for new products, find out what competitors are doing.
  3. Visit local distributor, ask about quality and skill of sales force, new market opportunities and technical support.
  4. If sold directly, ask customers about relivery, reputation, innovation, sales force and warranty.
  5. Call the 1-800 numbers.
  6. Call ad agency and talk to the account executive to find out where you can see and/or hear their ads and find out which trade shows they attend.
  7. Find articles on the company from trade magazines
  8. Talk to sales people / employees of company, competitors and ex-employees.
  9. Get competitors literature
  10. Lexis Nexis

Be sure to ask about problems, changes in the market place, areas of improvment, trends, new product ieads

The impact letter for the CEO must be an effective show piece, as well as create needs analysis questions for the interview.

"You have a great company, and I have spent some time studying it", "Based on my research, which includes observing your products in use by your customers, there are 4 things that may have a positive impact on your business".

Boomerang Letters

Write letters for want ads. Want ads are expensive and a lot of thought involved. When replying to want ads you should: flatter the person who wrote the ad, echo the author's words and intent, and mirror the ad.


A proxy for formal, structured resume. Readable, humanized summary of relevant background. Show your experiences in a non-resume format. Demonstrate an understanding of the target company. Similar to a boomerang letter. It is more credible because it is not a resume.

Non Traditional Resume

Company tailored resume, interview-tailored cover letter is more effective. Use creative position, imply great importance but do not lie. Remove self-serving self-description like "proven leadership". Use facts, incidents, numbers to reveal qualities. Remove jargon with plain text: remove "Gold Bird Award" to "Outstanding Manager Award". Include the last 5 - 8 years, position your experience to job needs. Remove affiliations, they may be controversial. Send a picture of you in action. Skip the stupid summary, the only job objective is to help company profitably get and keep customers. No "I" in resume, limit it in letters (cover, resu, boomerang). Be sure to answer "Why hire me?". The resume should be 2 pages or fewer.

No one cares about job objectives. Employees care about what they want. Your objective must be the hiring person's objective (never your objective).

Resume should not read like a game-show quiz, "What's my line". Use clear, plain English that is crisp, clean, interesting and memorable.

Interview as a Sales Call

  1. Precall Plan - How are you going to present your story
  2. Write down one or more objectives (like demonstrate a marketing skill)
  3. Needs analysis preparation with careful, thoughtful questions
  4. Listen, take notes to the questions you ask
  5. Show something (like explaining past work
  6. Ask for commitment, please how to ask for the job (or future interviews)

You should hire me because I can sell more, I can collect on overdue accounts, I can better train our sales force, or because I can negotiate lower interest rates.

The job interview objective is to meet decision makers; get a job; learn about job opporunities, learn about job application, get trial offer (i.e. work for 6 - 10 weeks), consulting project, or referral to another company.

Precall plan should take 5 - 15 hours, done in hours. Primarily answer "Why hire me?", learn how to pronounce all names, what next steps to get a commitment, what needs analysis questions to ask, anticipate questions about experience, qualification, goals, interests, interest in company. Anticipate concerns like age, ability, health, character and work history.

Precall Plan

Organization Name:___________________

Interview Schedule

Inteview with ________________, Location ________________, Time _____________

Summary of Organization

Reputation / Image:___________________
News tidbits:___________________

Why hire me? (Dollarize value, probelms you will solve)


The Interview

Interview's Name:___________________
Title /Responsibility:___________________
Role & Influence (in hiring decision):___________________
Inteviewer Profile (background, reporting relationship, likes / dislikes):___________________

Inteview Objective


Needs Analysis Questions


Inteview Converns


Pre-Planed Answers to Inteview Converns


Pre-Planed Answers to Inteview Converns


No one cares how you want to use your experience, that you like working with people, or that you love to write. The only thing hiring people care about is their problem, and if that hiring person thinks you can help, you have a shot at getting the job.

The objective of the interview is to find out what the customer (hiring person) like, need, looking for, and why. Then you show how your experience fills their need.

Interview Questions

Needs analysis is when you ask questions to find out exactly what the customer wants to best position yourself to satisfy those needs.

Don't talk

The interview is a sales call, avoid talking or telling. Instead answer, ask, listen and sell. Upto 80% of the talking should be done by the customer (hirerer) and your first interview is to perform a needs analysis. Answer questions direct, honest, brief and full. Do not embellish, stray from the point, volunteer new information. After answering, be quiet.

When asking yuor questions, ask, then be quiet (if the interviewer is quiet that means she is thinking, not that you need to clarify the question). Be a sell guy, not a tell guy.

Concerns should concern you so that they do not concern the hirerer

Hirerers worry about work ethic, experience, enthusiasm, smarts, integrity, people skills, sexual orientation, age, gender, marital situation, background, competency, ability to get the job done, morals, etc. Who cares why (or if they are legal), they are real. Use your needs analysis to uncover hidden concerns and provide assurance that everything is okay.

Show something at the interview

Show things like sample product, relevant work, case histories. A survey of what the company's customers are thinking, a summary of market trends. Be inventive and be on target. Ask to do a demo.

Lunch and dinner interviews are not about eating. They show the hirerer manners, poise, dialogue and social skills. Avoid foods that splash, spill, or stain. Avoid foods you eat with your fingers. Cut your food on your plate so it does not look untouched. No alcohol.

Look the part

Proper appearance is something. It shows self-respect, respect for the hirerer and your attention to detail.

Make the hirerer feel good, be friendly but not friends. Wow them with your interest in them and in their company (such doing a simple background search).

Some interviewers ask parlour questions (2 seconds left, do you go for the tie or win?). To be prepared, ask other interviewees to be forewarned and pre-call plan those questions. Consider asking clarification questions like: "Are there rules on how to answer this question?", "What is the purpose of that question?". If you are asked what to do, reply "Would there not already be a response developed for that situation", or "Would I be expected to decide on a similar action without permission, coaching, or management involved".

Always ask for the order - to be hired

Follow up with a letter one day after the interview, restate your case, add that you doubt they will find a more interested or dedicated candidate. Buyers expect to be asked, want to be asked - put me in coach, I'm ready to play, today.

Thank you notes - send early, send often and to everyone you meet. Thank you notes show manners, respect, potential, class. People with the most influence are the most difficult to meet (they are usually the most busy). People in networks value loyalty, courtesy, and have excellent memories.

Four events to land a job

  1. Get a lead, referral or introduction (1pt)
  2. Appointment with hirer (2pt)
  3. Meeting hirer (3pt)
  4. Commitment from decision maker to hire you (4pt)

Get 5 points each day.

Daily job-hunting to-do

Never panic. Dress and groom every day. Keep a daily schedule. Exercise, everyday. Remember, rejection is rarely personal.

Don't ask for directions

Companies hire people to solve problems, prevent problems, reduce pressure, improve financially. You job is take things off the collective "to-do" list. Companies want people who are resourceful, self-reliable and able - if you cannot even find an address, how will you be able to do things like fill out your TPS reports.

You objective at a job interview is to get the job. Focus on the hiring person's agenda, not yours. You can determine the answers to all of those other questions with your pre-screen homework.

Minimize the use of "I". Try You will receive instead of I will send. Organizations care about their issues, not yours.

Great sales people listen more than they talk.